Luther on Salvation

As I write this I am feverishly working away on my fourth essay of the year. (yes, that’s right – I’m still in seminary, despite some of you insisting on naming me “Reverend”!)

My current project, due on Monday, is 3,000 words on “The rôle of Abraham in Paul’s presentation of his theology”.
It’s taken me headlong into the New Perspective (which, on closer inspection, really is pretty poor -more of that next week). But it’s also meant going back to the Reformers to see if they really do misread Galatians and Romans as those of the New Perspective claim.

Tonight’s work is Luther on Galatians and I wanted to stop and post up something quite special that Luther notes when coming to Gal. 3:6

Galatians 3:5 Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith– 6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”?

Paradoxically, a Christian is both right and wrong, holy and profane, an enemy of God and a child of God. These contradictions no person can harmonize who does not understand the true way of salvation. Under the papacy we were told to toil until the feeling of guilt had left us. But the authors of this deranged idea were frequently driven to despair in the hour of death. It would have happened to me, if Christ had not mercifully delivered me from this error.
We comfort the afflicted sinner in this manner: Brother, you can never be perfect in this life, but you can be holy. He will say: How can I be holy when I feel my sins? I answer: You feel sin? That is a good sign. To realize that one is ill is a step, and a very necessary step, toward recovery. But how will I get rid of my sin? he will ask. I answer: See the heavenly Physician, Christ, who heals the broken-hearted. Do not consult that Quackdoctor, Reason. Believe in Christ and your sins will be pardoned. His righteousness will become your righteousness, and your sins will become His sins.

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  1. anitra

    Unfortunately, too many people today deny that they feel any guilt at all, or they think that they have meaningless guilt, because they “live a good life”.

    “To realize that one is ill is a step, and a very necessary step, toward recovery.” AMEN!

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